SLEIGHT OF HAND: The use of digital dexterity and cunning to deceive.
The sleight of hand artist relies upon digital skills to accomplish his illusions. These techniques are invisible to the audience. The juggler openly displays his hard earned skills. The sleight of hand artist hides them. They are concealed within natural movements and actions.
Beyond the finely acquired skills of his dexterous fingers the sleight of hand artist also relies upon other subtleties to accomplish his deceptions: Psychology and timing, language both verbal and physical, help him in deceiving all of the audience’s senses.
Sleight of hand is synonymous with the art of close up magic. It’s a form of magic performed within close proximity to the audience. The objects used are common everyday items, playing cards, coins, paper currency even cell phones. Though anything that fits into the artist’s hands becomes magical. This impromptu style of close range magic makes deception seem totally impossible, yet amazingly, the totally impossible still occurs.
What is close up magic? What is a close up magician?
Close up magic is the intimate art of producing astounding illusions by sleight of hand performed within close proximity to the audience.
The magical objects or props need to fit in the close up magician’s hands. The traditional props are playing cards, coins, cups & balls and even dice. However, anything that fits into the magician’s hands is fair game for his miracles; a cell phone, a pen, paper napkins, a saltshaker, a coffee cup or a dollar bill.
Unlike the stage performer the close up artist brings his magic right into the audience space. There’s no stage or curtains, no boxes or mirrors, simply an object in the magician’s hands held inches away from the spectator’s eyes. The magic often happens right in the spectator’s hand!
Under these strict, close up and challenging conditions, deception seems utterly impossible. Yet, miraculously, the totally impossible still occurs! Close up magic is by far the most demanding form of the magical arts and when done perfectly it is the most astounding!
Close-up magic is best performed for an audience of 30 or less and can be performed sitting at a table or standing. With the arrival of LSV (large screen video) technology larger groups can be accommodated.
Another form of close-up magic is strolling magic. This style has become popular for social and cocktail hours where guests are standing and mingling in small groups. The close-up magician moves around the room entertaining these smaller groups of guests. Street magic is also a form of close-up magic.
Photo & art credits:
Photo art manipulation by Steven Paul Carlson, portrait photo by Nick Olson
The Coin Magician’s Dream, photo art by Steven Carlson
In the art of close-up-magic, coin magic easily finds its place toward the top of the most challenging skills.
Coins, along with playing cards, are the primary objects in the close-up magician’s repertoire.
Historically coins predate playing cards by a good three to four thousand years.
Coins were first introduced as a method of payment around the 6th or 5th century BC and have been in the magician’s bag of tricks ever since.
In the magician’s hands coins appear, vanish and multiply. They magically move from place to place or from hand to hand, visibly and invisibly. Coins change from sliver to copper and even grow in size. The possibilities of magic with coins is limitless.
Coin magic relies upon the intricate dexterity of the artist. Dexterous skills acquired through years of practice, training and performance.
A master sleight of hand artist’s technique is never seen. To the audience it is invisible. These graceful methodologies lie gently hidden beneath the surface of natural movements and gestures. Only then does the coin magic appear effortless and impossible.
My name is Steven Paul Carlson, I have been practicing magic since I was 6 years old and I have been performing magic professionally for over 40 years.
So sit back and relax and enjoy the magical ride.
Oh, and please, fasten your seat belts. 😉
Photo & art credits:
Coin and photo art by Steven Paul Carlson, portrait photo by Nick Olson
Sleight of Hand Artist, Steven Carlson, performing his elegant style of close-up magic for guests at the beautiful Forepaugh’s Restaurant in St. Paul, MN. The magic event was on Halloween night, a tribute the great escape artist, Harry Houdini.
in 1899 Houdini’s career was going nowhere and he was seriously contemplating retirement from entertainment. But his big break came in St. Paul, MN at the Palm Garden beer hall, (less than a half mile away from the Forepaugh’s mansion) when he met manager Martin Beck. Beck, impressed with Houdini’s handcuff act, advised Houdini to concentrate on the escapes and booked him on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. The rest is history.
Houdini died on Halloween in 1926 he was 52.
This is my dream studio. Someday, with a little luck and fortune, that will be where I hang my hat and create 😉
Antiquity of the Soul – Pastel 16” x 20”
One can see and feel the history etched into this man’s face and antiquity its-self reflecting in his eyes. I had great fun painting the bright colored head cloth with its intricate patterns, wrinkles and folds juxtaposed with his face and the similar intricate patterns. This is one of my all time favorite portraits.
I met an individual at an art show who was from this part of the world. He told me that the head wrap they wear, the colors and patterns, tells you what region the person is from. Fascinating!
Fa’er•ie gnomé or fa’er•y gnomé n
Pronounced fair-ee nohm
May the reader bear in mind, the information offered here regarding these very shy and illusive creatures, is based on only a small number of sightings since the history of the “big folk” began to be documented. Sightings of Faeriegnome dwellings are fortunately a little more common. Both these sources and recent archaeological discoveries help to provide us with our current knowledge of the Faeriegnome folk, their temperament, attributes and customs.
Faeriegnomes are ancient creatures, tiny, quiet and shy by nature. They were believed to be of simple gnome ancestry but they predate even the earliest gnomish records. They are much smaller than a gnome, but larger than the leaf faerie.
Faeriegnome architecture is known for its clever construction and unique creativity.
The unique coalescence of both the Fae and Gnome bloodlines seems to account for their vast magical abilities, their immeasurable ingenuity and ancient wisdom. It also explains their extreme diminutive size. The size of the average adult male, by their standard of measurement, would be about 54 to 63 digits or fingers, which would be about 2.5 to 5 cm or 1 to 2 inches tall.
Writings predating antiquity indicate Faeriegnomes were a part of the Great Earth Caretakers. Their ability to travel extremely long distances enabled them to keep a watchful eye on the delicate balances of nature. Assisting them in these earthly stewardship responsibilities were their ever present, always faithful walking sticks, ‘Astar’, as they call them. The wood of the astar was from a tree, bush or plant of unknown origin. Interestingly, the astar continued its growth despite being separated from the root. In fact, it had to be regularly pruned or it would quickly outgrow its owner! Ordinarily the astar was quite plain, but on occasion a particularly creative and fastidious Faeriegnome might adorn it with a little silver, gold, gems or even seashells.